July 29, 2013

Shut Up, Ali MacGraw

I've been yelling an awful lot lately. More than I ever wanted to, when I imagined myself as the working from home mother of three. (I'm also less pretty than I imagined, and my hair is much less manageable and effortlessly glamorous. Crap.)

I get up at five to work until six-thirty. I run around after the kids, clean up breakfast and do housewifely type things until nine-thirty, when I get another hour while Lucy naps and The Other Two watch an episode or three of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends or Spider-Man (Just Spider-Man) from 1983. 

We usually head outside after that, and I bring my phone because Work , and often end up emailing or Twittering or catching up on the eleventy-billion finance blogs I read, and the one Lannis. (Which should explain why I comment on her excellent posts so sporadically and - let's face it - spastically.)

They're all in bed napping by twelve-thirty, which means most of my client calls are scheduled for one o'clock (to make sure Oscar has gotten out of bed all nineteen times and finally gone to sleep). Norah's big enough to understand and actually follow the "if you wake up and the gate downstairs is still closed, play quietly in your room until I come get you" rule. Oscar does not, and Lucy? Ha! I laugh at your naïveté!

If I don't have a client call, I get about an hour and a half - two, if I'm lucky - to get more work done before they all troop downstairs in search of a snack. (And a drink and a "watch something"). They usually get another half hour or so of tv while I rush madly to finish up whatever analysis or report I'm working on. 

Afternoons usually happen outside, or at the grocery store if it's a really busy day, and they're also when dinner has to be prepped (or at least cursorily thought of and then forgotten about), laundry has to be washed and dried and folded and put away, or something. (One out of four is still a passing grade, right?)

Lets not even talk about the state of my floors, or fridge, or closets, or basement. Lets definitely Not Talk about my bathrooms. The caulking is supposed to be pink, alright?

And then there's the eating of supper, the cleaning up of supper, the brushing of teeth, the cleaning up of toys, the reading of stories, the singing of songs, and the puttings of Oscar to bed twelve more times with varying levels of annoyance and frustration, after which I can usually fit in another hour or two of work before finally sitting down on the couch for an hour and then trudging up to bed. 

Not every day is that bad, really. We go to the park, or the other park. We get spontaneous ice cream, and go on kid  dates that always manage to involve candy somehow. We have impromptu dance parties in the upstairs bathroom and birthday parties not in the upstairs bathroom. We have movie suppers in the living room that usually end in pyjamas snuggled up on the couch. 

Only the days that are bad lie to me, and whisper slyly that every day is like this, and you're a horrible, impatient parent, and you make your kids feel like they're in the way instead of loved

And so - in my frustration with myself, my full days, the newness of this life of working at home, the fact that all is not glitter and unicorns and bottomless tubs of Nutella, I yell. 

I yell at Norah to stop picking Lucy up when she doesn't want to be picked up. I yell at Lucy to quit splashing her hands in the toilet bowl. I yell at Oscar to stop whatever thing it is he's not stopping. I yell at Seth because in his effort to help me filter the frying oil into a Mason jar so it can be reused, he spills it all over - All. Over. - the counter. 

I yell, or I get angry and pouty, and they get grumpier, or even more unruly, or - worst of all - they cry. Um. The kids. Seth doesn't cry. Good golly, imagine? (He's also ruly most of the time.)

I feel horrible. I want to stop yelling. Sometimes I manage to grasp a little perspective and realize that this stress is just temporary, that I'll find a rhythm that works, that if I'd just put my phone down when we're outside the world wouldn't end, that I could read less money news and no one, least of all me, would notice. 

I say "I'm sorry" a lot. And then I think about how awesome it would be to never have to say it, but not because "love means never having to say you're sorry," because that's utter bullshit

Love - the kind I'm interested in, anyway - means saying I'm sorry when I act like a crazed harridan instead of a mother or a wife, all the while trying - with divine help, thankfully, or I'd be in a rotten pickle - to act in a way that won't necessitate apologizing again. 

Real love means saying you're sorry and then being better. 

So Ali MacGraw can eat it. 

July 15, 2013

This Post is About a Post I Haven't Written. How Meta.

Dudes, I've been trying to write another "Day in the Life" post all week, because isn't that why you all stuck around? The boring minutiae of my life?

Thought so.

The problem with writing a DITL post as a mildly honest person is that you don't want to write about a great day, because then you'd have to explain that every day isn't great and I'm not being a Pinterest Mom, I promise.

But then, you don't really want to write about the day after someone in the house got a vasectomy, because A, he probably doesn't want the whole internet to know about it, and B, you were pretty testy what with the husband flat on his back and the children trying to climb on him and the melting eyeball temperatures and the fact that you planned your daughter's fifth birthday party for the same day and there might have been a little bit of yelling when your son got out of bed thirteen times and ended up staying up an hour past his bedtime when all you wanted to do was sit down and drink a (large, cold) gin and tonic.

So not that day.

You think you could possibly write about the day your first paid writing gig got published (because that other time, the time with the marble post, when BlogHer emailed you and said they wanted to syndicate it and pay you fifty bucks for it? That was Leslie's post. But you weren't bitter or anything), but that was the same day that someone got a vasectomy, and you got so many emails from various people who read the post and were thinking about hiring you, and the one phone call you actually took live because the kids were occupied came at the exact same time that the hospital was trying to phone you that someone just got into the recovery room and you can come and pick him up anytime and that same someone ended up waiting alone at the hospital for an extra twenty minutes to be picked up and you realized that you were a horrible, horrible wife.

The rest of that day's details leaked out of your ears. Plus, it kind of sounds braggy and awful at the same time, which means it's out of contention.

Instead, exhausted, and with real work to do but a still-burning desire to write something Not About Money, you write a post about why you can't write a post, and then you put up a picture of your daughter playing in the sprinkler.

Just this once, everybody lives!*

*And now you know my favourite Dr. Who episode.

July 8, 2013


This morning, Norah had a bad dream. It woke her up at quarter to six, and she came downstairs to sit on my lap and tell me about it.


Aside: now that I'm not pregnant anymore, I'm swinging the old "sneaking downstairs to write at 5am and hoping like hell that the kids don't wake up" cat around again, since I don't have any other cats to swing around.

It's working approximately as well as it did the last time


She saw this in my Twitter feed (My professional one, that is. I'm not convinced that The Mrs has anything to add that Sandi "The Professional" doesn't already say..heh heh.), and she asked me what it was.*

Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt at Night (NASA, International Space Station Science, 10/28/10)

"Egypt at night." says I, "See all the pretty lights?"

"Can we go there?" she asks.

"Mm, not now. It's pretty dangerous there right now."


"The people who live there are fighting with their government, and the government there is fighting with it's people."

"Oh." She points to the smaller pool of light to the right of Egypt. "Can we go there?"

"Weeeell, that's Israel. It's pretty dangerous too."

 She points back to Egypt. "Can we go there when they stop fighting?"

"Sure we can. It might take a long time, though."

"Oh. We'll have to check it every day."

That's what I think too.


*I'm warning you, I'm done with caring about making punctuation play nicely. From now on, "fall where you may" is my punctuational motto.

July 1, 2013

189 Awesome Things

This girl is almost five, and she's changed so much.

Okay, not so much. Whatever.

She's finished junior kindergarten - although her little friends have convinced her that she was in senior kindergarten this whole past year - and is now poised to enter fifth grade in September.

Anything that she finds extraordinary is One Hundred and Eighty-Nine, as in "I'm one hundred and eighty-nine happy", or "that cookie was one hundred and eighty-nine good". Rarely does she use it as an actual number.

She is simultaneously infuriating and hilarious. She'll say things like "I know how to spell princess. It's w w w dot c a t", and then ten seconds later flip out because you didn't guess exactly how she wanted to be tucked into bed.

If you ask her to tell you a joke, she'll say "A zebra is inside of a monkey", and laugh uproariously.

She still holds my hand when we walk together.

I'm taking gleeful advantage of it.

So is Lucy.

She's ridiculously easy to delight, and when you do - by sitting down to colour with her, or by telling her that you're having cereal for supper (hardly ever, stopdialingCASplease), her whole face lights up. Her eyes get so wide when she's truly excited, like when she declares: "I have two loose teeth, TWO of them!"

"I'm sorry for pushing you off the couch 3 days ago"

Also: she has a hard time getting along with Oscar, but it's okay, because she can write him cards of apology.